Obituary
Cause of Death


4.5
superb

Review

by K. McNichols USER (16 Reviews)
July 8th, 2007 | 344 replies | 26,181 views


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Obituary masterfully blend simplicity with jaw-dropping technicality for their seminal second release, Cause of Death.

12 of 12 thought this review was well written

Xecutioner formed in the American death metal capital of Tampa, Florida. Shortly before releasing their first album Slowly We Rot, they dropped this name and became the legendary Obituary. Slowly We Rot was widely heralded as a landmark of the genre, and Obituary quickly became an influential band in the '80's Florida death metal scene.

The Lineup:
John Tardy - Vocals
James Murphy - Lead Guitar*
Trevor Peres - Rhythm Guitar
Frank Watkins - Bass
Donald Tardy - Drums
*Replacement for former lead guitarist Allen West. West returned for the next album, The End Complete.

For most Obituary fans, Cause of Death is the album on which the band perfected its sound. With the addition of guitarist James Murphy, Obituary successfully blended furious guitarwork with brutal delivery. Vocalist John Tardy is regarded as one of the first of the genre to utilize the abnormally low growls commonly heard in death metal today. His vocals are most easily comparable to the late Chuck Schuldiner of Death. Tardy often uses a phlegmy vocal approach to achieve lower growls.

A great advantage of Tardy's inhuman voice is the lack of distortion contained within it. While many death metal frontmen are known for their indecipherable vocal technique (i.e. Chris Barnes of Cannibal Corpse), Tardy's voice is clear enough for the listener to separate most of the lyrics. What sets Tardy apart from many death metal vocalists is his ability to use his voice purely to accompany the music. A fine example of this manifests itself on Chopped In Half. These are the only lyrics to the track, yet throughout the assault Tardy simply growls or screams to fit the music.

Chopped In Half
Feel the Blood Spill from your Mouth
With Rotting Ways comes Destiny
Feel the Soul taking over
Bleed


One of the outstanding qualities of Cause of Death is the mix of simple riffs with furious lead guitar playing. Songs like Chopped In Half aren't exactly technical, yet they are so aggressive and brutal that it becomes of little concern to the listener. The opening track Infected consists of about 4 chords used over and over, and just as it seems easily categorized as another simple death metal song, James Murphy delivers soaring leads behind a wall of artificial harmonics. If that wasn't enough, Obituary even manage to pay homage to Swiss titans Celtic Frost with a cover of the thrash standard Circle of the Tyrants.

The only weak point of Cause of Death is the rhythm section, limited to the bass and drums. I challenge any listener to separate bass tracks from the rest of the mix on this album, and while Donald Tardy is an effective drummer, his work is not stellar by any reach of the word. The bass simply follows the guitar, so even if it were audible it wouldn't enhance the experience very much. Continuing in that direction, a very distinguishing trait of Obituary (especially on Cause of Death) is the downright thrashiness of many of the songs. While many tracks contain slow and sinister sections, Obituary add surprising bursts of speed to the music which usually appear toward the solos. The diversity in the tempo of tracks is a great asset to the listenability of the album. Dying is a great example of this.

In Conclusion:
For avid death metal fans, Obituary's second offering is essential. Don't simply discard this album as ordinary based on something as simple as the song titles or vocals. My first impression of Cause of Death was one of distaste at parody-worthy song titles like Body Bag, yet Obituary managed to win my ears over after only the first three tracks. Cause of Death is a quintessential death metal classic surpassed in terms of influence perhaps only by the debut efforts of Death and Morbid Angel.



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4.2
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Comments:Add a Comment 
tribestros
July 8th 2007



918 Comments


Good review; but Obituary sounds like every other death metal band at it gets old eventually.

CoRpSeSlAyEr
July 8th 2007



855 Comments


Awesome album indeed, along with the review.

sickjesus
July 8th 2007



163 Comments


nice work. i prefer TEC, but it's all gravy

Tarantino's Tarantulas
July 8th 2007



819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Celtic Frost are Swiss I believe, not Scandinavian.

ValiumMan
July 8th 2007



493 Comments


Yeah, CF are Swiss. Death metal bores me.

Wizard
July 8th 2007



19343 Comments


Solid review once again rattlehead42147! Always a pleasure to read. Not really a fan of US death metal........................besides Cannibal Corpse!

Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

rattlehead42147
July 8th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks for the corrections guys, but no votes?

Angmar
July 8th 2007



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, I love love love this album

NemesisDivina
July 8th 2007



141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool review, you got my vote. but i think this album deserves at least a 4.5... love it.

rattlehead42147
July 8th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i like how your digging this album nemesis, thanks for the vote, i think i will raise this to a 4.5.

Angmar
July 8th 2007



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm digging this a lot too, such a great album.

Dethtrasher
July 9th 2007



2211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love the growls in this album, and the album too. But I think that the rhythms are pretty solid though. Other than that, great job.

kalkal50
July 9th 2007



2386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Great review. Something with these sentences didn't flow:

His vocal style is similar to Chuck Schuldiner of Death. Tardy often uses a phlegmy vocal sound to achieve lower growls. A great advantage to Tardy's voice is the lack of distortion contained in it.


I think there needs to be a better connection there. Otherwise, very good. I haven't taken the effort to listen to this.

rattlehead42147
July 9th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@deth
the rhythms are solid but just not outstanding, i like them but it seems like they could have been better
@kal
alright i'll work on that thanks for the suggestion
and definitely get this and listen
thanks for the votes guys
EDIT: I had to raise this up to 4.5, yes its that good, thanks for the advice Nemesis!This Message Edited On 07.19.07

Angmar
July 24th 2007



2689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

indeed it is a 4.5

LifeInABox
August 2nd 2007



3708 Comments


Cause of Death is a quintessential death metal classic surpassed only perhaps by Death's Scream Bloody Gore or Leprosy.
There are a few more that would surpass it i.e. LHP, Altars Of Madness, S/t Deicide, but this album is quite essential none-the-less.

rattlehead42147
August 5th 2007



1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah although i didn't mean SBG or Leprosy was better just that they had just about the same amount of influence, but i should change Leprosy cause its not that influential. As far as the s/t deicide this blows that out of the water.

blackmilk
August 5th 2007



584 Comments


Boring.

kalkal50
August 15th 2007



2386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the vocals do it for me alot, they're disgusting

FR33L0RD
August 15th 2007



1461 Comments


I love Death Metal but i dont like Obituary

.......your review is goodThis Message Edited On 08.15.07



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